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British Airways is flying 27 tonnes of medical aid to Delhi

As the humanitarian crisis in India worsens, British Airways has announced it will fly a Boeing 777-200 aircraft loaded with emergency aid to Delhi to support the Indian government as the country continues to battle rising Coronavirus cases with dwindling oxygen supplies.

1,349 items of aid will depart on an aircraft specially chartered by British Airways and supported by volunteers from the airline to ensure life-saving supplies reach the country urgently. British Airways Chairman and CEO Sean Doyle says the airline has offered the support free.


Khalsa Aid is an international NGO with the aim to provide humanitarian aid in disaster areas and civil conflict zones around the world

The airline commissioned a special project team to organise the flight, due to leave on Wednesday 5 May at 5pm, landing in Delhi at 5.45am (local time) on Thursday 6 May. The aircraft is loaded with more than a thousand items from the High Commission of India and charities including Khalsa Aid International and the largest Hindu Temple outside of India, BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir, in Neasden, London.

The load includes hundreds of urgent life-saving oxygen cylinders and shipments of oxygen concentrators, respirators and blood oxygen saturation monitors.  British Airways is also donating care packages for families in need.

While IAG Cargo and British Airways have maintained a vital air link between London and India throughout the pandemic, sending aid on scheduled flights, this air lift is a special charter, fully funded by the two companies.  


Captain Minesh Patel, commanding the relief service, is a member of the BAPS Shri Swaminarayan Mandir temple

Sean Doyle, British Airways’ Chief Executive and CEO, said:

The British Airways family has been deeply affected by the terrible scenes in India of the deepening humanitarian crisis that has impacted the lives of many of our people. We are fortunate to be in a position to help transport aid and I am so proud of the volunteers from across the airline and IAG Cargo who have stepped up to make this happen. We continue to stand with our friends in India as the country endures one of the worst crises it has ever known.

British Airways works in partnership with the Disasters Emergency Committee (DEC), which is organising the UK’s humanitarian response.  Saleh Saeed, Chief Executive of the Disasters Emergency Committee, said: 

The DEC brings together 14 leading UK aid charities to respond quickly and effectively to disasters, with the fantastic support of partners in the corporate sector, including British Airways. We are hugely grateful to British Airways for springing into action to support our emergency appeals, enabling us to provide life-saving humanitarian assistance to people in India and elsewhere across the world when disaster strikes.

Captain Minesh Patel has been instrumental in helping to organise the flight and is commanding the relief service.  He said:

It seemed natural to connect British Airways with the wealth of aid and relief material amassed by BAPS in the UK to enable the medical supplies to reach the organisation’s volunteers in India who can provide relief, medical and social aid to the victims in the worst affected regions.

The airline’s people have also raised several thousand pounds for the DEC’s appeal through internal online donations.  

You can find out more about the Disasters Emergency Committee coronavirus appeal here:
www.dec.org.uk/appeal/coronavirus-appeal

Covid testing resources

Almost all overseas business travel now requires the presentation of certification confirming a negative Covid-19 test. These tests are a government-mandated requirement prior to passing international borders – the absence of a test may mean boarding flights is denied.

On this page, we have provided links to three lists of Covid test resources. A searchable list from airline alliance Skyteam; a list of testing facilities located at UK and overseas airports; and the UK-based Covid testing resources provided by the UK Department for Health and Social Care.

  • Skyteam, trough a partnership with TrustAssure, has provided a searchable database of Covid-19 testing centres.
  • Global Travel Management has provided the following list of UK and overseas airports with testing facilities with links for further information, such as how to book:
  • The UK Department of Health and Social Care has produced this list of private sector, non-NHS resources in the UK which provide negative Covid-19 tests, prior to flying. The list contains email and telephone contact details:

British Airways offers discounted, portable rapid Covid-19 test kits

British Airways has announced customers can order discounted global antigen tests from Government-approved COVID-19 testing provider, Qured, at an exclusive price of £33.

The convenient rapid test kits are can be ordered to any UK address. Customers can take the kits, which are designed to be portable, with them abroad, in preparation for their return journey to the UK.

The test is remotely administered by a professional health advisor over a scheduled video call. The health advisor will guide the customer through taking a nose and throat swab and processing the sample. Verified results are available after twenty minutes, and the customer can download a ‘fit to fly’ certificate if the test is negative.

British Airways’ CEO Sean Doyle, said:

As we look forward and prepare for a safe return to travel, we remain focused on finding and offering the most convenient and affordable testing options for our customers.

Our teams were pleased to discover Qured, a unique new option which removes uncertainty and unnecessary expense for customers who may be concerned about sourcing a pre-departure test while away from home.

Qured’s CEO Alex Templeton, said:

Our accessible rapid testing service takes the hassle out of finding a test abroad. As a trusted healthcare provider we look forward to delivering an exceptional patient experience to British Airways’ customers and to working with them on a safe return to travel.

To find out more information on Qured, and all the other testing options and discounts available, customers can visit British Airways’ testing page on ba.com.

Rapid Covid-19 tests use a diagnostic lateral flow device to confirm the presence or absence of the virus.  Qured’s rapid tests use a nose and/or throat swab to transfer the sample onto a lateral flow cassette. The lateral flow devices Qured uses have all been independently validated by Public Health England.

What is the Qured lateral flow test process?

  • Once a test is purchased, the customer will receive the test kit via next-day delivery.
  • Customers will be sent a unique link to sign up and book their virtual clinic slot.
  • Prior to the virtual appointment the patient will receive a link to access Qured’s secure video consultation platform. They will then be asked to enter their name.
  • The customer will enter the virtual waiting room and an expert health advisor will start the call at their chosen time.
  • The customer is then guided through the test procedure and the whole process takes around 10 minutes.
  • Result is available 20 minutes after the customer has completed the test. They will then email a photo of their ID and the LFD to Qured for verification.
  • The customer is notified via text and email that their test result is available, and if negative, they can download a ‘fit to fly’ certificate to be presented at the airport or uploaded to the VeriFly app.

GTM rolls out Testing for Travellers

Global Travel Management has announced the roll-out of two Covid-19 testing services for customers planning international travel.

GTM has relationships with two suppliers, Confirm Testing and DiamondAir. Both organisations can test passengers pre-flight and provide negative test certificates by email, paving the way for unhindered progress through the airport and on to their destination country.

Scott Pawley, managing director of GTM said

There is a growing list of business destinations that require a negative test certificate from UK-based travellers. So we are pleased to have put together testing programmes from two industry leaders, so that our customers can get tested and can receive certificates prior to travel.

Any customer can now choose the most convenient method, suiting their requirements. Tests can be carried out at home, at Heathrow Airport, or in specific locations in London.

We can even arrange a hotel stay prior to departure, so customers can receive take the test a day prior to their fight, relax in the hotel overnight before receiving their negative certificate the following day and transfer quickly and easily to the airport.

GTM customers will have a choice of supplier to administer and carry out their testing. The two programmes work as follows:

Confirm Testing

The customer orders a test to be sent to their home address at least five days prior to departure by Royal Mail Tracked 24 hour delivery. The test can be stored at home until it is required. The customer follows the test instructions, takes the test sample and returns it using the Royal Mail Tracked 24 hour label and packaging, putting them into a designated priority post box.

The test sample is analysed and results provided to the customer in time for the flight.

DiamondAir

The customer is tested in person, choosing to be tested either at Heathrow Airport or at one of Diamond Air’s London facilities in Mayfair or Enfield. The result of the PCR swab test is provided within 4-24 hours.

Customers can choose from several levels of service, including:

  • Test – this is a straightforward test, with results emailed to the customer
  • Test and rest – this comprises a test and overnight hotel accommodation
  • Test and destress – a test, plus departure/arrival meet and assist service including car transfer to/from the test clinic/airport

Paul Baker explained the service further

Testing for Covid-19 is mandatory for a growing number of countries. So we have negotiated a discount for GTM customers with these providers, meaning that, not only will they get a fully professional, secure testing process, they will get it at a discounted rate.

Some countries demand that the test certificate is produced within a short time-frame of their planned arrival in the country. So our teams of travel consultants can help passengers decide which testing service best meets their needs.


If you are planning to travel on business to a country that requires a negative test, contact your GTM Account Manager.

Finnair is offering free Covid-19 insurance cover

Finnish airline Finnair has announced it is offering complimentary Covid-19 insurance cover for customers departing from Finland.

Finnair Corona Cover provides extra protection and security for customers for all existing and new bookings, for travel departures between 3 November, 2020 and 31 March, 2021.

The insurance cover comes complimentary with all Finnair tickets booked through Finnair sales channels – including Finnair.com, the Finnair mobile app or via the airline’s customer service – for international travel originating from Finland.

It means any customer who falls ill with coronavirus in their destination can claim for any coronavirus-related medical and quarantine expenses incurred in their destination. The cover supplements travellers’ own travel insurance.

Tiina Tissari, Finnair Vice President, Customer Experience and Products, said:

It is important that Finnair customers feel they can travel safely as we recognise that travelling during the pandemic comes with new kinds of concerns and challenges.

To meet the needs of our customers during the COVID-19 outbreak, Finnair has introduced its complimentary Finnair Corona Cover.

Now Finnair customers can enjoy the peace of mind and additional security which comes from Finnair Corona Cover, including cover for medical and quarantine expenses should those insured with us become sick with coronavirus while travelling.”

Finnair Corona Cover includes the following expenses for customers in their destination:

  • Covid-19 related medical expenses and medical repatriation up to €50,000, e.g. for a hospital stay or doctor visits
  • The price of a coronavirus test, if the result is positive
  • Additional quarantine costs, resulting from falling ill with coronavirus, up to €100 for a maximum of 14 days, which could cover additional overnight accommodation
  • A new return flight back to Finland, if the original flight is missed due to illness related to coronavirus.

The cover is valid in all foreign destinations, with no excess fees.

As well as including Finnair Corona Cover with all Finnair tickets booked from Finland, the cover is included also in Aurinkomatkat package trips and Finnair Holidays bookings, when the destination is outside Finland.

Customers are advised always to contact Finnair’s insurance partner for a consultation and approval for any medical or other expenses, before using local services. Expenses will be settled directly with local service providers, provided each customer first contacts and is given approval from the insurance partner. This prevents customers from having to pay for the services themselves or carry any risk for the costs.

The service is provided to Finnair customers, 24/7, with English-speaking customer service agents on hand to provide assistance.

For more information and advice on Covid-19 insurance contact your GTM Account Manager. T

British Airways demonstrates Covid-19 safety at the airport and on board

British Airways has released a video highlighting the measures introduced at the airport and onboard to keep customers safe during the pandemic.

In the video Head of Global Sales Mark Muren interviews Dr Mike Harrigan, British Airways’ medical lead, on the measures in place including:

  • Asking customers to check-in online, download their boarding pass and where possible self-scan their boarding passes at the departure gate
  • Requiring customers to wear a facemask at all times and bringing enough to replace them every four hours for longer flights
  • Social distancing markers and hand sanitiser stations placed throughout airports
  • New ordering system in lounges to reduce contact
  • Cabin crew wearing PPE and a new food service, which reduces the number of interactions required with customers
  • Providing customers with a personal protection pack including a sealable disposal bag, hand sanitising gel and an antibacterial wipe.
  • Enhanced cleaning measures and HEPA filters

They also discuss the latest research from IATA which showed that since the start of 2020 there have been just 44 cases of COVID-19 reported in which transmission is thought to have been associated with a flight (that includes confirmed, probable and potential cases). Over the same period some 1.2 billion passengers have travelled, which is just one case for every 27 million travellers.

If you have any questions about Covid-19 safety at airports or on board, or if you simply want to discuss your plans for your next British Airways flight, please contact your GTM Account Manager.

Delta Air Lines selects UK-based company to develop its disinfection protocols

Delta Air Lines is partnering with UK-based Reckitt Benkiser to drive greater confidence in travel by “innovating cleaner, more hygienic experiences for customers and employees, alike“.

The partnership will pair Delta’s strength in safety and operational rigour with Lysol’s 130 years of germ-kill expertise and innovation to continue improving upon Delta CareStandard protocols launched during the Covid-19 pandemic across Delta airport locations and on board the airline’s aircraft.

Keeping surfaces clean is one of the areas the Delta CareStandard focuses on, along with giving travellers more space, cleaner air and providing safety and personal care from check-in to baggage claim, and every point in between.

The US Environmental Protection Agency recently approved both Lysol Disinfectant Spray and Lysol Disinfecting Wipes among the first to test effective against Covid-19 when used as directed on hard, non-porous surfaces.

Bill Lentsch, Delta’s Chief Customer Experience Officer said:

There’s no finish line for cleanliness – there’s always more we can do to innovate and elevate our already-high standards because that’s what our customers and employees expect and deserve.

The experts at Lysol share our drive for innovative, continuous improvement – they’re the best at their craft. That’s why we’re excited to get started on R&D to target germ ‘hot spots’ and cement the Delta CareStandard as the industry gold standard – so customers feel confident in choosing Delta as more people return to travel.


Rahul Kadyan, Lysol EVP, North America said:

Our collaboration with Delta is exciting because they have clearly demonstrated great leadership, care and commitment to cleanliness and innovation across their customer and employee touchpoints. Our shared vision to create breakthrough solutions within our industries, while bolstering current disinfection protocols will support Delta customers in feeling confident when they travel.

At Lysol, we’re committed to offering products and providing germ-kill expertise as defined by our purpose, which is to protect, heal and nurture in the relentless pursuit of a cleaner, healthier world.

Berkshire based Reckitt Benkiser is a £50bn, Anglo-Dutch multinational consumer goods company, developing health, hygiene and home products. It produces some of the world’s most-trusted, well-loved brands, like Lysol, Dettol, Cillit Bang, Finish, Harpic and Nurofen. The company is donating more than £500,000 to Berkshire Community Foundation to support charities and voluntary groups which provide access to essential services such as tackling food poverty, providing mental health support, and caring for the elderly and infirm in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Delta also recently announced a collaboration with Mayo Clinic to provide additional Covid-19 infection prevention and control measures for travellers and employees, including guidance on an employee Covid-19 testing programme. This will ensure ensuring that virtually all Delta employees will be tested in just a matter of weeks via onsite and at-home testing.

If you want to experience Delta Air Line’s customer experience on your next trip, contact your GTM Account Manager.

GTM gains real-time access to the latest Covid-19 travel restrictions

Global Travel Management has announced that it has integrated a global Covid-19 restriction tracker service for use by its travel consultants when clients need to know the latest pandemic information on any country in the world, in preparation for business trips.

GTM travel consultants have real-time access to every country’s travel restrictions, policies and safety measures, updated constantly

GTM is one of the first travel management companies in the world to integrate the Travelport Covid-19 plugin, which provides access to information on government restrictions, lockdowns, and safety measures across the globe.

This means that GTM travel consultants can easily access critical information at the planning stages of any business trip.

Scott Pawley, managing director of GTM explained:

With the Travelport Covid-19 plugin, we can provide reliable, sourced information to clients on the destinations they’re planning to travel to or through, without leaving the workflow. In this way, we’re able to continue providing a top-class service to clients who can confidently make travel choices and book flights.


The plugin is powered by Safeture, the Swedish global employee safety platform provider. You can see the Safeture data, presented as a global map, on the GTM website homepage, here:
https://gtm.uk.com/.

With this plugin, GTM travel consultants can access country-level lockdown indicators, government restrictions and quarantine measures in place.

Contact your GTM Account Manager if you need further information on Covid-19 travel restrictions in any country in the world.

Quarantine lifted, air bridges introduced and Foreign Office travel warnings changed

Update – Friday 3 July

Passengers returning or visiting from certain destinations which pose a reduced risk to the public health of UK citizens, including Spain and Italy, will no longer need to self-isolate when arriving in England, Transport Secretary Grant Shapps has set out.


Transport Secretary Grant Shapps

The new measures will come into force from 10 July 2020, meaning that people arriving from selected destinations will be able to enter England without needing to self-isolate, unless they have been in or transited through non-exempt countries in the preceding 14 days.

A risk assessment has been conducted by the Joint Biosecurity Centre, in close consultation with Public Health England and the Chief Medical Officer. The assessment draws on a range of factors including the prevalence of coronavirus, the numbers of new cases and potential trajectory of the disease in that destination.

The list of countries will be published later today. 

Transport Secretary Grant Shapps said:

Today marks the next step in carefully reopening our great nation. Whether you are a holidaymaker or a business eager to open your doors again, this is good news for British people and great news for British businesses.

The entire nation has worked tirelessly to get to this stage, therefore safety must remain our watch word and we will not hesitate to move quickly to protect ourselves if infection rates rise in countries we are reconnecting with.


International business travel has been given a boost with the news that the UK Government is to suspend the 14-day quarantine requirement for a series of countries, introducing instead “air-bridge” arrangements while the Foreign Office warning against all but essential international travel will be lifted for countries deemed safe.

The full list of countries is still to be confirmed. People will be allowed to travel to the named countries, without having to quarantine on return, from 6 July.

The list of “safe” countries is being finalised by the UK’s Joint Biosecurity Centre, working with Public Health England. Countries will be ranked as green, amber or red based on an assessment of risk from Covid-19.

Business travellers will be able to travel freely to both green and amber countries.

The decision to relax quarantine requirements follows pressure from Focus Travel Partnership members, the Business Travel Association as well as airlines and other industry stakeholders.

A 14-day quarantine will stay in place for anyone arriving in the UK from countries not rated green or amber, with passengers required to self-isolate at a declared address, potentially enforceable with a £1,000 fine.

Clive Wratten, Chief Executive of the Business Travel Association and Abby Penston, Chief Executive of the Focus Travel Partnership gave us their reactions to the latest information, and called for further clarity as soon as possible:

Etihad Airways launches digital Covid-19 risk assessment tool

Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, is partnering with Austrian-based healthcare technology company Medicus AI to launch a COVID-19 risk-assessment tool that will help passengers make informed decisions about travelling.

The Etihad Covid-19 self-assessment tool is accessible via the airline’s website

The risk-assessment tool will guide Etihad’s passengers in evaluating the probability of having contracted the Covid-19 coronavirus by responding to a set of 22 questions. The self-administered assessment, which takes less than five minutes to complete, is based on World Health Organization guidelines.

With this risk-assessment tool, passengers will understand their individual probability of having contracted the virus alongside advisories and recommendations, allowing them to make informed decisions about travelling.

Frank Meyer, Chief Digital Officer, Etihad Airways, said:

We know that health and wellbeing will be a major factor impacting the travel decisions of our guests and are committed to ensuring their continued safety and peace of mind when they choose to travel with Etihad Airways. As flying operations begin to resume globally, we want to empower our guests to make informed decisions on travel. Partnering with Medicus AI on this innovative new tool is just one of the ways we are adapting our operations and guest experience to meet the new demands placed on the travel industry as a result of Covid-19.

Dr. Baher Al Hakim, Chief Executive Officer, Medicus AI, said:

We are proud to support Etihad Airways in their efforts to ensure the safety of its passengers and crew as the world returns to normality. Our initial efforts at the start of the pandemic were to help provide assessment and monitoring tools, and as needs shift, our efforts have evolved to help our partners bring people back to their day-to-day life in a safe manner.

The tool is now available to guests on Etihad.com and is accessible in English, with additional language editions such as Arabic, French, German and Portuguese being added in phases.

Etihad Airways has been actively sourcing and investing in innovative solutions to enhance the safety and wellbeing of its employees and guests in light of the impact of Covid-19 and has also recently announced trials of Covid-19 triage and contactless technology at Abu Dhabi International Airport.